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Infectious Disease Response Plan

 

Purpose of the Infectious Disease Response Plan

The purpose of the Infectious Disease Response Plan is to assist Southern Wesleyan University in Preparing for and responding to a possible infectious disease outbreak. This plan will assist the University in continuing to provide services to our students, faculty, and staff to prevent the spread of disease on campus during an outbreak.  The University will also work with local and state agencies to ensure the best response possible for the health and safety of the campus, local and state populations.

Scope

The SWU Infectious Disease Response Plan applies to SWU students, faculty, staff, visitors and potentially surrounding communities.  The University’s Crisis Management Team (CMT) is responsible in directing the response and actions in the occurrence of any outbreak.  The CMT will also serve as a liaison with the Pickens County Health Department.  The CMT may consist of representatives from, but not limited to, the following departments: 

  • Student Affairs (VP of Student Life)
  • Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness and Career Development
  • Director of Counseling and Health Services
  • University Nurse
  • AVP for Spiritual Life and University Chaplain
  • Director of Campus Security
  • Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing
  • Director of Communications
  • Faculty Member from Science or Social Science Division

Situation Overview

“Infectious diseases are caused by pathogenic microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites or fungi; the diseases can be spread, directly or indirectly, from one person to another. Zoonotic diseases are infectious diseases of animals that can cause disease when transmitted to humans” - (World Health Organization). The impact of an infectious disease outbreak on the local community has the potential to be devastating, making planning for the next outbreak imperative. 

Assumptions of Threat and Vulnerability

An infectious disease knows no boundaries; therefore, an outbreak associated with an infectious disease could present a serious risk on a college campus where there are large numbers of students and staff.  In addition to the large concentration of individuals, University faculty and students may engage in research involving various biological agents, while other areas may present infectious disease threats such as food preparation, athletics and campus housing.

Plan Activation

The overall plan is divided into three (3) levels of response preparedness. Key departments on campus will have a separate protocol for each level to maximize an effective response to the infectious disease outbreak. Communication and cooperation with all members of the campus community are paramount to the success of this plan. The response levels for each department are as follows:

Level 1                         

No local disease transmission reports.  Business as usual; regular services continue.  (campus prepares behind the scenes for a possible infectious disease response).

Level 2

Increased awareness and prevention – presence of minimal number of cases of disease. 

Level 3

Significant disease transmission.

Southern Wesleyan University will monitor reports from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Health and Control (DHEC), American College Health Association (ACHA) and any local and statewide warnings. SWU will follow their recommendations as closely as possible while implementing the SWU Infectious Disease Response Plan. 

Upon notification that an infectious disease outbreak is occurring, SWU’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) will meet on a regular basis to monitor any state and local warnings and recommendations to determine the appropriate level of action for the University.  The SWU Health Center and the office of Student Life will work closely with the President’s Office and all other departments to ensure execution of this plan.

The official method of communication will be the Southern Wesleyan University Website and the Counseling and Health Services page on mySWU.

Students who become ill with the identified infectious disease will be asked to disengage from all campus activities.  Before returning to classes and other activities, students will be required to submit a release or clearance from a treating physician known as Return-to-School Documentation. This Documentation will be collected by the Southern Wesleyan University Health Center. See each department’s plan of action for additional information. 

Roles and Responsibilities

Academic Affairs
Level 1

Regular services continue.  Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to practice good personal hygiene daily.  Professors are encouraged to provide a class policy illness statement on all syllabuses.

Level 2

AA will monitor how other universities in the geographical area are responding and maintain communication with SA, coordinating the cancellation of events if necessary.  AA will also work with the Office of the President and SA in times of increased awareness.  Professors and instructors will be encouraged to remind students of the steps to take if one becomes ill.

Level 3

Cancellation of classes and other academic activities will be based on the impact of the outbreak on campus and recommendations from the CDC and ACHA.  Faculty will utilize the institution’s learning management system (LMS) and other virtual instructional tools to offer instructional activities during the school’s closure.

Campus Security
Level 1

Regular services continue. Security maintains an officer on duty at all times.

Level 2

Priority and availability of service will be determined by call volume.

Level 3

In the event of a campus closure, Security will assist facilities personnel in locking down all buildings. The presence of sensitive material storage, expensive technology, equipment etc. will determine which buildings are priorities. Security will coordinate this effort internally.

Security continues to maintain an officer on duty at all times.

Counseling Services
Level 1

Regular services continue. After-hours mental health crisis support is typically available by calling Campus Security.  If a student is under the care of an off-campus community physician or mental health professional, he/she should also contact his/her treating professional.  Students may also need to go to a local hospital emergency room or call 911 as their situation dictates.

Level 2

In addition to regular services, Counseling Services has referral and contact information for community medical and mental health professionals

Level 3

Depending on the severity of impact on campus, regular services continue.  Limited counseling support can be offered by phone to students experiencing physical and/or mental health symptoms. If campus members have a concern regarding a family member or friend who is ill, counseling can offer support and referrals as appropriate.

Dining Services
Level 1

Regular services continue.  Dining Services will offer hand sanitizing stations in easily accessible areas.  All Dining Services staff are expected to follow the CDC’s recommendation for personal hygiene.

Level 2

In addition to regular services, Dining Services will continue to offer hand sanitizer stations throughout the dining facilities. They will also convert any self-serve lines into service lines with available personnel.  There will also be arrangements made for ill students who are in isolation to ensure they are fed properly while they remain secluded from the campus population

(Take-away meals, etc. will be distributed to affected students).  Posters will also be placed in common campus areas to reinforce the importance of good personal hygiene.

Level 3

As the severity of the infectious disease outbreak increases, Dining Services will provide minimal food operations with reduced personnel available for remaining staff and students.  Dining services will coordinate with health services and the Vice President for Student Life to determine continuing operations of dining sites.

Facilities Operations
Level 1

Regular services continue.  The contracted services group will monitor the refilling of all mounted hand sanitizer stations throughout campus. 

Level 2

During a time of increased awareness, Housekeeping and other Facilities Operations staff will monitor the situation and take precautions to prevent the spread of disease.  Hand washing and personal hygiene stations will be frequently checked to ensure they are adequately stocked, sanitized and accessible.  Staff will use cleaning and disinfection procedures that are appropriate during influenza season with emphasis on high-touch areas.

Level 3

Facilities will use their reduced staff to maintain the cleanliness and disinfection of facilities.  Any special directions that may come from local health agencies or the CDC will be monitored and enforced by Facilities.  In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, this document provides steps to guide the Southern Wesleyan University community response.  This plan serves as a general guideline and should assist the organization in continuing to provide services when the health status is normal, as well as when an infectious disease outbreak situation exists.  Any questions regarding this plan should be directed to the University Nurse, .  

Health Services
Level 1

Regular services continue.   

Level 2
  1. Health Services will work with all departments and serve as a resource to answer question
  2. Health Services will be responsible for alerting Student Life and the Office of the President regarding implementation of this response plan if there is heightened awareness of disease transmission.
  3. Health Services will compose messages to the SWU community about the increased level of awareness and work with the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing to ensure that messages are accurate and factual (to the best of our knowledge).
  4. Health Services will also disseminate educational materials to increase awareness within the SWU community regarding the prevention of disease sprea
  5. Health Services will advise students of the steps to take if they become ill and educate students on the infectious disease response
  6. Health Services will make contact with students who become ill to verify that they have consulted a physician Health Services will stay abreast of recommendations from the CDC, local health departments and ACHA and disseminate information as necessary to SA, the Office of the President, Residence Life and other department
Level 3

Using recommendations made by the CDC, local health departments and ACHA, Health Services will ensure that accurate and factual communications are developed for the SWU community

Health Services will also continue to monitor the status of students who have become ill and report them to the appropriate agencies as necessary.

Health Services will act as a consultant to recommend actions that should be taken (event cancellations, school closure, etc.) to members of Student Life, Academic Affairs and the President’s Office

Health Services will work with Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing to deliver communications on the status of the infectious disease outbreak

 

Human Resources (HR)
Level 1

Regular services continue.

Level 2

Sick Leave Policy for staff and administration will apply; an employee absent due to illness for three (3) or more consecutive work days may be required to submit a physician’s statement concerning the illness and clearing them to return to work.  If an employee’s contact with an infected student can be attributed to the employee’s illness, the employee or a care taker should contact the Office of Human Resources for the leave options available to the employee. Any change or addition to the policy will be upon recommendation from the Office of the President.

Employees with symptoms of illness are encouraged to stay home until symptoms cease to be prevalent.   Other employees are encouraged to practice social distancing and good personal hygiene.  HR will maintain contact with employees who become ill and ensure that they have consulted with a physician. HR will also notify the University Nurse of new cases of illness since employees may be in direct contact with students and Health Services will be the primary office monitoring the outbreak.  Employees should continue to monitor the Health and Counseling page of mySWU updates on the prevalence of illness on campus.

Level 3

As the severity of the outbreak increases, supervisors in each department should inform HR of employees affected by illness in a weekly update. In the event of a campus closure, a plan for job sharing and position back-filling through temporary workers will be designed by HR and submitted to the Office of the President.

Marketing and Communications
Level 1

Campus-wide communications will continue as usual, with health-related updates as necessary. Any minor updates will be posted in a link on the Health Center page of the mySWU.

Level 2

The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing will work with the Health Center to ensure that communications are delivered to the SWU community and the SWU website to heighten awareness levels on cam These messages will be updated weekly unless the frequency of events begins to increase; at that time messages will be updated daily or as needed.  Information will be located on the SWU Health Center page unless it is deemed necessary to move them to the home webpage.  The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing or his designee will be responsible for speaking with any media personnel when there is an increased incidence of illness on campus and will also relay any change in situation and plan activation.

Level 3

The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing or his designee will deliver information regarding cancellation of any events, meetings and activities via the University’s Emergency Notification System. Any closures or event cancellations will be determined by the severity of the infectious disease outbreak and recommendations from CDC and ACHA and by the Office of the President.  The Vice President for Enrollment Management and Marketing or his designee will be responsible for speaking with the media regarding any infectious disease events on campus, as well as any closures or event cancellation

Residence Life and Housing
Level 1
  1. Regular services continue.
  2. Residence Life will maintain and regularly update a checklist of current residents and emergency contact information. Students are informed frequently about prevention through email, and hall posting.
Level 2
  1. All campus residents will submit and sign a Residence Life Emergency Form detailing where they will go in the event of an emergency evacuation or campus closure.
  2. Students will be notified by Residence Life about the status of disease on cam Local students who become ill will be asked to return home until clearance has been given by a physician, in which case Return-to- School Documentation must be submitted to the Health Center.
  3. Ill residents who do not have a place to go will be isolated in their residence hall rooms. Roommates will be quarantined in their rooms.  Arrangements for meals will also be made with Dining Service Increased awareness and emphasis on preventative measures will be communicated to the residents.  Residents will be notified when an individual has been diagnosed with the illness via their Resident Director and the SWU website.
  4. If isolation rooms in the residence halls become full, additional isolation areas on campus will be identified, prepared and utilized. (2nd floor of Stuart Bennett).  Before the student may return to campus activities, they must submit Return-to- School Documentation, signed by a physician, to the University Nurse in the Health Center.
Level 3

Residence Life will operate under the advisement of the Vice President of Student Life and the Office of the President in the event of campus closure. In the event that Residence Halls close, Residence Life will follow the Residence Life Evacuation Protocol (this document is maintained in the Office of Residence Life) to facilitate the departure from and return to campus of all residents at the appropriate time.

Student Life and Community Events
Level 1

Regular events and activities will continue.  Hand sanitizers will be available at all student events that include food service.  Hand sanitizer dispensers are strategically placed throughout campus so that individuals have easy access to them. 

Level 2

Cancellation of events will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The President’s Cabinet will be advised by the Vice President of Student Life and the Vice President of Advancement of the need for increased awareness and prevention. Signs will be posted prompting individuals to wash their hands and use other precautions, such as social distancing.

Level 3

Cancellation of events, meetings and activities will be determined by the severity of the outbreak and recommendations from CDC and ACHA. The Office of the President will make the final decision for cancellations.


Resource List

American College Health Association

 

www.acha.org

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

 

 www.cdc.gov

 

 Employee Assistance Program

800-968-8143

First Sun EAP

Blue CareOnDemand (Telehealth)